I graduated today.
The most perturbing thing about the ceremony was this girl sitting two seats down from me that loudly pronounced to the gentleman sitting next to her, “this is just a stupid waste of time, I think. What, we just go up there for thirty seconds and shake some old guys’ hand then it’s over, right?” He nodded, both of them feeding off each other’s showy apathy.
I don’t care for that kind of attitude, especially on a day when I’m celebrating the symbolic and literal ending to my five years with the University of Alberta; the most fantastic, worthwhile and oddly enough, shortest, years of my life thus far. I wanted to say something about her; perhaps if she was that apathetic about her own ceremony and her own achievements, she shouldn’t have showed up. Why bother coming if you’re going to piss on your own respectable achievements and the achivements and reached goals of hundreds of others and their families? I am not an advocate for apathy under any circumstances.
I’m grateful to have intensely documented my maze through university in a series of journals; there are five journals, which works out to one per year, and I am only just beginning to fill in my sixth. I find that these documents have been useful in dissecting and remembering my time here and I would like to write out some of my favorite moments and passages:
“So it’s September. Which means my life will permenently change tomorrow because I’m moving! Dude, I’m moving to Edmonton to go to the U of A and live in rez and hate my roommate!… OMG what if she hates me? What if I hate her?… What if everyone on my floor is a big, dopey sheep and they look at me like a shallow, wannabe-skinny Sarah Jessica Parker?” -September 3, 2004
“Okay, so here I am. I have a roommate and a bed and a closet and a desk. My roommate appears to be a brain. She has calculus, physics and math books on her desk. Lucky girl! But she seems really nice, so maybe this won’t be so bad after all! I don’t feel nearly as alone/scared/shy as I thought, which is good.” – September 4, 2004.
“Oh my fucking God!!! School is really fucking scaring me! I have mounting Spanish and English to do and I SO don’t want to! I’m scared of crashing, burning and failing this U of A thing!!” – September 18, 2004
“I thought English was supposed to be my strong subject – not a chance right now — seriously, I failed my first essay (40%)… right now, I’m FUCKED. I lost my rough draft. My second essay is crap. I can’t concentrate because I have the flu. It’s just lovely how things hardly ever work out. On the right side, I got an A+ on my drama project!… oh yeah, and I’m dropping anthropology tomorrow ’cause I’m fucked so I quit.” – November 2, 2004
“Yesterday was the best day of my entire life. Yesterday was the best fucking natural high in the whole world. From yesterday, for a VERY long time, things have taken on a whole new light, and it makes me feel so fucking good….I MET MY IDOL and it’s the most special thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve done so many things that I just loved, so many things that I’d consider great moments, but this was the greatest of all….” -November 24, 2004
“The game’s over and the story’s too long for my poor hand to take. Anyways, I can honestly say that my life right now is perfect. I’m currently happy, healthy, I love my friends, I’m not swamped with work, and I’m enjoying all my classes. I just don’t want this year to be over, becaiuse I’m having such an awesome time.” – February 3, 2005.
“Yesterday was fucking AWESOME.” – March 13, 2005
“Remind yourself Miya, that in 10 days you’ll be done your first year of university — hold on for just 10 more days!” – April 12, 2005
“Oh yeah – BEST THING EVER! Guess who got accepted into their creative writing class?! ME!!! I submitted a portfolio and was chosen based on talent – that’s right, I’m awesome.” – July 5, 2005
“It’s so sad how things change like that after you got comfortable with things the way they were. We took last year for granted.” – September 5, 2005
“I think my floor’s doing something like watching a movie in the lounge… but I’m here. Completing my history assignment and wishing for company… why am I incapable of making friends for myself? Why am I afraid to take chances? Why am I afraid to be by myself? I suck ass. I want SO much to be a part of (my floor), yet I can’t do anything about that. Soon, they’ll stop making an effort…” – September 10, 2005
“It just occured to me. Before I lived here, I was SO different. I opened this journal with ‘So begins the written document of my boring, sad existence’ – BUT my existence isn’t boring or sad anymore…… my ‘sad, boring’ life has passed because I did something I should be damn proud of! I complain lots about Lister and school but it comes down to that I LOVE LIFE!” – December 3, 2005
“I have a confession to make – I’m really falling (again – why do I do these things?)…” -March 1, 2006
“He wanted to borrow my notes/meet with me to photocopy them – so what do I do? I tell him, ‘I have a photocopier – I’ll photocopy the notes and bring them to class on Thursday. My GOD, what a STUPID GIRL I AM!” – March 9, 2006
“Miya – this is your moment of truth – to PROVE that you can DO THIS – don’t give up! Don’t succumb to the pressure of sleep! You can’t! 500 more words – that’s NOTHING. Just think of one more point… OH MY GOD.” – March 11, 2006
“You know you get that feeling when you’re just alone? And you have no one but YOU? Like, you can’t relate to anyone else? Cuz I feel like that NOW. We all come in alone, and go OUT alone. With nobody but US. And in a sea of people, there’s YOU – YOU ARE THE ONE THAT YOU COUNT ON. Like, sometimes I feel like I can’t relate to people in the world – and it’s just me, making random appearances in people’s lives. And people don’t WANT those appearances in their lives – they want THEMSELVES…. CHRIST – I made an ass of myself today. A total ass. I am NEVER going out again or doing stupid shit or wearing bloody foam clogs…” – March 17, 2006 (while quite drunk)
“I think March 2006 will go down as the worst month of my life.” – March 21, 2006
“I cleaned my room and tidied my drawer and everything. And it felt pretty good. Fuck – I purged EVERYTHING – but… I thought I’d feel amazingly free and I was wrong – what the fuck is missing in my life? WHAT IS IT?! I’m chanelling John Mayer here – but… honestly. I don’t get what’s wrong with me – why am I always in a bad mood lately? It really sucks because this place was my Goddamn heaven.” – March 24, 2006
“…and now I can say that a chapter of my life (life in LISTER, to be exact) is closing. So what did I learn? Lots of things. That despite being 18+, I’m still not about to go out nightly and get wasted. That if people are worth the risk, the risk should be TAKEN, that friends leave and Lister remains, shittier and more desolate than ever before, that I’m a WRITER, that I’m a born recluse, that only creepers put ‘the moves’ on me, that reclusion from floormates breeds good grades and inherant isolation/awkwardness, 6 Mac wasn’t THAT bad, and my life versus the life I lef upon starting this journal are totally, systematically reformed, like 360 degrees.” – April 26, 2006
“Truth is, the only thing that makes my life better than it was in Lister is that I don’t live in Lister – but, everything else is the same. No friends, I’m a loner, I spend too much, and I still just feel like… there’s something just not there. I just can’t figure out what it is, but whatever it is, it disappeared from me after first year! There’s just no fun in my life anymore – there’s no spark. There’s no… friends.” – September 11, 2006
“So much is happening so fast, I can hardly keep up with it. My life is going down a strange road and I’m not sure exactly where it will lead me. I’m not even sure if I like it yet.” – September 20, 2006
“… despite that I’m lonely, and despite that I keep looking for happiness in the distance, I still like to have a sense of purpose and a sense of discovery – for me, that’s what going to school is all about.” – September 26, 2006
“I always do this. I always fall for the people I’ll never have. Eight months from now, I’ll be sitting here, writing ‘I liked this guy so much – why didn’t I do something about it?!’ and I’ll be wondering how I can fix things but by then it will be too late.” – October 5, 2006
“And so I sit here, doing what I LOVE – writing – while my psych grade continues to decrease altogether, and my HECOL grade goes nowhere at all.” – October 11, 2006
“I feel strongly that despite the fact that it’s not ‘real’, there is no greater pain than wanting someone you can’t have. Nothing even compares.” – October 19, 2006
“OMG, I’M LIKE, FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW! I don’t know what to do or how to tell if I should tell or anything. My stomach’s tying in KNOTS – I feel like screaming – no one who understands me is here for me…. That this is the biggest day of my life potentially – I’m SO freaking out right now.” – November 9, 2006
“I did something REALLY brave today – I showed my whole class what I’m made of and it’s not what I thought I was made of to weeks ago, two months ago, even two years ago.” – November 10, 2006
“I think I’ve finally gotten what I wished for. I wished for the maturity and wisdom to realize that my self-worth wasn’t measured by stupid crushes. I wished to be able to just be happy for my friends, not jealous or upset. I wished for both and… I finally got what I wished for. I did it. I’m done.” – March 18, 2007
“I saw Ryan Adams in concert – the best concert EVER – and I FUCKING MET HIM!” – August 17, 2007
“I always make a birthday wish and a birthday decision. My wish this year is to open up my world. First New York, then what?! Who knows. But I want new adventures, new exploits. In essence, I want it all.” – October 20, 2007
“My birthday weekend was a fucking epic fantastic wonderful brilliant stoke-worthy beautiful two days that involved skating, cheesecake, drinks at the Confederation Lounge, a waiter lying across our laps, dessert, omelets and swimming/sliding. Yes. EPIC. Yes… I cannot believe how lucky I am. I cannot believe my life. I simply cannot. I feel like things for me are just going to get better before they get shitty and hit rock-bottom.” – October 22, 2007.
“I have arrived in New York City.” – November 10, 2007
“So I learned something about myself – one, that I can’t sleep whilst really drunk and also, that when I’m drunk I’ll do a LOT of other things, which I’m not particularly proud of, or glad of, or happy about really.” – January 12, 2008
“So today I decided something (well, SORT of…) I decided I’m sick of labeling myself as a victim who is incapable of forming any sort of relationships of being super-confident.” – February 5, 2008
“Farewell to 2007, the old me, 10630, and all the pieces of my identity from before I was who I am at this moment, when I’m at the top of my world.” – February 13, 2008
“I love the freedom and anonymity of being so incredibly far away, that home at this moment feels solely like a distant incomprehensible memory.” – February 14, 2008
“I got lost, walking from my apartment, humble familiar, home, the scents of my life stagnant and soft and reminding me of the happiness and sadness, the taste of familiar loves and losses, to ‘My. Pleasant’, to Calgary Trail, to my summer, and back again. The whole time, I thought only of how finding beautiful, unfamiliar places reminds me solely of you. With you, getting hopelessly, delightfully lost, getting canvas shoes sopping with spring mud, would be more fun if our hands were interlocked, and our eyes fixed ahead together. The world, my world, is beautiful, beautiful like Gerbera daisies, perfect mountains of whipped cream, stars, beaches, big wet snowflakes, steam rising from a cup of coffeee, swans with huge white wings, and you.”
“I feel a bit like Holly Golightly today.” – July 15, 2008
“Although it could never compare to last summer’s Ryan Adams 2007 experience, the 29th was a hell of a lot more fun, sharing that wonderful fucking excitement and love with Rychy and Sarah… I want the new album, I want to see him again, I want to just sit there and take him in forever and ever. There aren’t a lot of concerts like that – ones that completely move mountains, ones that you’re in a trance watching, ones that make you realize truly how magical a song can be.” -September 1, 2008
“School reminds me of a lot of things — lime crushes past and present, my Lister years, listening to Elliott Smith, being that bright, starry-eyed first year who only had Lister… I’ve spent the last four years of my life on this campus – and for better of ro worse, all the most awful, epic and touching things have happened to me here. And in eight months, all of that will be over. SO weird. I’ll be a university graduate.” – September 3, 2008
“It’s weird when you’re away from home, to think about all of the people you’re leaving behind, just living their lives by themselves without you while you’re on the other side of the world.” – February 17, 2009
“I’m writing a story – my story of crush fulfillment, but with a magical twist, where the girl and the guy she’s crazy about get caught in this frenzy of whimsy that can’t even be denied; it’s a pointless story but — I want to write it and I don’t care if it’s pointless or not. I’m drawing on the bad moments of my ‘love life’ and turning them into something good, pretty, etc.” – March 9, 2009
“maybe… maybe I’m on my way to achieving my goal. It used to seem so so so far away. But Jesus, I WILL be successful, okay? If you exist and really do dictate people’s actions… don’t bother bringing me down. I’ll overthrow you.” – April 13, 2009
“Every semester I think, I’ve had one last exam. And after that exam, I walked out, turned on my discman (post-second year October, my ipod) and said to myself, ‘what song do I want to listen to, to seal the done deal?’ Past songs have been Gonna Make You Love Me by Ryan Adams and Freedom ’90 by George Michael. In my first-ever semester, I did Christmas music with Tania. And now, I have completed my last-EVER PAPER. And it’s an enormous, carelessly-done, painfully-written piece of FS 414 shit. And I don’t care at all. And I turned on Dance All Night from Cold Roses. And suddenly, I felt like I awoke from a five-year long nap. I’m Rip Van Winkle. and I was this little kid who was 17 and scared and clueless about everything to do with life and one day, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I finished a novel and about 20 pages of film studies. 400-level film studies. and I’m wondering what happened while I was asleep until I realize I was there; I lived in five different places; I had two really important circles of friends; I learned how to be a part of a community, live on my own, go to shows, get fucking hammered, listen to REAL music, tell people off, tell people I love them and mean it; I learned how to study, get A+’s in 500-level courses, found my real true calling, discovered, cultivated, tore down and re-built, TWICE, won $4,500 in scholarships, and learned that life can be more fulfilling, amazing, worthwhile, important, special, real and affecting in five years in Edmonton than in 17 years of my shit-fuck town of Jasper. In this moment, I’m on top of absolutely everything on earth. FANTASTIC DAY!!!!” – April 20, 2009